I have some updates to share with you. It has been extremely busy at the Union Hall and I want to be sure you are aware of the following issues:
1.Contract Update: I attended Contract Negotiations over the past three weeks. The full committees met the week of October 2 in Washington, DC, and October 16 in New York City. I served on a Subcommittee on October 10 & 11 in DFW to review all the Letters of Agreement and other correspondence that will be incorporated into the new Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA). Our new contract will be very different than what we now have. It will include language from the existing TWU and IAM contracts, as well as having some new language. The three most important things that must be considered as we reach a new agreement are the intent of the language, the interpretation of the language, and the implementation of the language. We have gone a long way in reaching an agreement; we are now into the economic issues, and this is the tough part. Once we reach a tentative agreement, you will be able to review the full text, and there will be road shows across the system to explain the JCBA’s prior to the ratification vote by the membership.
2.Annual Benefits Enrollment: This started on October 16 and will go through this coming Friday, October 27, 2017. We had a full and comprehensive presentation of our benefits package at our Monthly Membership Meeting which was conducted at the airport on October 9, 2017. Both the Company and Union sponsored benefits were discussed. As in past years, Local 512 has arranged to have Enrollment Counselors at the airport to assist you in your enrollment and to answer any questions that you may have. The Enrollment Counselors will be here through Friday, October 27, 2017. Please contact either Rick Friedman or myself for further information.
3.Employee Injury: On Saturday, October 14, 2017, a Fleet Service Clerk sustained a very serious injury while working on the ramp during a severe storm. Because employee safety affects everyone one of us, I want you to know what Local 512 has been doing since the injury occurred. First, and foremost, we are attending to the needs of this member and his family. As his health is of the utmost importance, we have committed every available resource to insure that he has full and immediate access to all the medical providers necessary to expedite his recovery. Secondly, we are committed to provide any assistance that we can to his legal counsel; this to insure that all his legal rights have been protected. Thirdly, we immediately started our own investigation into this matter. There has been extensive correspondence with management about this injury; this includes official requests for documented information about the ramp conditions, aircraft maintenance records, ramp equipment maintenance records, and the data from the lightning detection equipment in the Tower. Finally, Local 512 reported the incident to OSHA, has had extensive communications with our TWU Safety Committee Members throughout the system, and we have also been in direct communication with the top AA Safety Manager at HDQ. As more information becomes available, we will update you.
4.29(d) Grievances: We concluded the testimony of my Drug and Alcohol Testing grievance on October 6, 2017 in DFW. Derrick Smith is preparing a Closing Argument Brief and will be submitting that document to the arbitrator soon. I do not expect that my Pay Seniority grievance will have to go to arbitration as the Company agreed to pay the membership system-wide for these violations. As we expect that more payments will be forthcoming, we will not sign a settlement letter until we determine that everyone has been made whole. The total value of the awards paid to date is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and can easily exceed a million dollars before the grievance is finalized. We will communicate any further information as it becomes available.
5.My Upcoming Schedule: On Monday, October 23, 2017, as a Vice President of the Illinois State AFL-CIO, I will be traveling to St. Louis to represent you at an event at the National AFL-CIO Convention. On Thursday, October 26, 2017, as an AA System Benefits Representative for the TWU, I will be representing the membership at the implementation meeting with the Hartford, which is our new Short Term Disability carrier. Finally, I will be representing the membership in Contract Negotiations which will be held in Washington DC during the week of November 6, 2017, and in DFW during the week of December 11, 2017.